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Lhtako Dene Nation questions if Quesnel City Council will live up to its commitments

The Lhtako Dene Nation is questioning Quesnel City Council’s other commitments in light of its decision on the steam shovel.

Council originally voted to repatriate the Likely Steam Shovel to the Bullion Pit but then changed its mind.

A letter from Lhtako was read at last (Tuesday) night’s Council meeting.

“Repatriating artifacts and good faith partnerships are important to our Nation.  We were very disappointed to learn that Quesnel City Council has reneged on its good faith offer.  We hope this reversal is not indicative of how Quesnel City Council will deal with other good faith agreements and partnerships.”

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The letter went on to ask Council to follow through on its original commitment to Likely.

“As a Nation, we believe that it does not matter how or why artifacts were removed from the communities they belong to, it only matters that they be restored to their rightful place.”

Mayor Ron Paull noted that the Likely group that was to receive the steam shovel is now happy that it will be kept in Quesnel.

Councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg wanted to know how Council was going to respond to the letter.

“Their main concern is about good faith partnerships.  So how are we going to respond to this in a timely fashion that allows them to understand that we still respect the partnerships and the MOU that we’ve signed with them.”

City Manager Byron Johnson noted that Council responded to similar concerns from the Lhtako Dene Nation at the beginning of the term in November that led to the approval of two motions.

“The first resolution was that Council affirms that it remains committed to the relationship and reconciliation initiatives that we have underway with Lhtako Dene, and that they remain a priority for our communities.  The second resolution was that Council recognizes the importance of the current reconciliation initiatives underway in partnership with Lhtako Dene including the community forest, Lhtako Cultural Centre, Lhtako Dene Park, and a residential school commemorative space at City Hall, and that these initiatives remain a priority for the City of Quesnel.”

Council voted to send a letter to Lhtako, that includes the two previous motions, stating that it remains committed to the relationship and to reconciliation.

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